Griz v. Spartans

The Grizzlies football team works their way to the endzone, during a watch lost in overtime. Franklin Coach Alan Hensell said, “We came out and we took the lead and that was very positive, we’re just not able to sustain that momentum."

The Franklin Grizzlies fell to the Manchester Spartans in overtime on a rain-soaked Alumni Day Saturday afternoon. While Franklin held the advantage at the start of the game, a series of turnovers and penalties turned the event into a close match for the Grizzlies—a close match that eventually slipped away from them in overtime.

Franklin Football Coach Alan Hensell said he was disappointed by the number of turnovers in the game.

“That’s something that we must get fixed if we want to be the team we want to be,” Hensell said. 

Franklin started the first quarter off strong with a 56-yard return by Jarrett Gibson. Dane Andrews passed to Gibson for a five-yard gain and a first down. A 31-yard touchdown run by Elijah Corwin followed, putting Franklin up 7-0 early. 

With five minutes left in the first quarter, Manchester’s Quentin Willis scooped a Grizzly fumble and scored Manchester’s first touchdown of the day, bringing the score to a 7-6.

After Devontay Moore recovered a Franklin fumble, a successful field goal attempt by Andrew Kibler put Manchester ahead 9-7.

Midway through the 2nd quarter, Trevor O’Brien threw a huge pass to Joseph Powell for a 62-yard Manchester touchdown giving Manchester a 16-7 lead, which they held into halftime.

Early in the third quarter, a touchdown by Gibson reduced the Spartan lead to 16-14.

On the next Grizzly possession, a holding penalty forced the team back 10 yards, forcing them to settle for a field goal. Derek Baldin successfully kicked the 38-yard field goal attempt, giving Franklin a one point lead of 17-16 over the Spartans.

After Franklin recovered a Manchester fumble and moved into their redzone, Garret Cora rushed the ball into the endzone for a 2-yard touchdown, giving Franklin a 24-16 lead over the Spartans going into the fourth quarter.

Then, after a fumble and a penalty on Franklin, Manchester forced itself into Franklin’s red zone. A 1-yard rush by David Smith, followed by a successful 2-point conversion by Trevor O’Brien tied the score up at 24.

Time drifted by and nobody scored, so it was settled in overtime. 

Franklin began overtime play, but they made only small progress before an intentional grounding penalty on third-and-10 at Manchester’s 24-yard line set them back 14 yards. As a last ditch effort, Franklin went for a throw on their fourth down, but the pass came up incomplete. This decision would come back to bite them, as the turnover allowed the Spartans to start at Franklin’s 25-yard line. 

Manchester struggled as well. A 5-yard penalty for illegal participation slowed their drive to crawl, and a fumble set them even further back. On fourth-and-17, Spartan Andrew Kibler kicked the game-winning 49-yard field goal.

In reflection, Hensell said that Franklin’s mistakes—namely turnovers and penalties—are what cost his team the game.

“I think our defense played very well. I think they had less than 200 yards of total offense at nine first downs,” Hensell said. “We came out and we took the lead and that was very positive, we’re just not able to sustain that momentum... When you don’t take care of your business with playing clean football, it’s very hard to beat anybody.”

Regarding future games, Hensell said the team will take it week-by-week. After correcting some issues, the team will get ready for next Saturday’s away game against Mount St. Joseph University. The game will begin at 1:30 p.m.

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